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All Is Not Bliss

The dark side of quaintness. Where the customer is always wrong. Our Nurse Ratched. And more.

8.23.02

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MIXED BLESSINGS
Re: John Corry's My Kind of Cadillac:

The small-town quaintness John Corry detailed in his article was a primary reason my wife and I bought 100 acres of land about 10 miles south of Cadillac. In some of the highest elevations in the lower peninsula, our property is a gorgeous mix of cedar swamp, maple and beech hardwoods and open, rolling prairies. The expansive vistas to the north and west are most glorious in the fall, generally the first week of October, when the hardwoods are ablaze in their autumn splendor. Deer, turkey, grouse, ducks, coyote and other wildlife inhabit the land in abundance. We have even seen bear on a couple of occasions.

Unfortunately, we have experienced a reduction of our rural tranquillity lately, as an adjacent 20 acres to our south was bought ($2500 per acre!) and populated by the most uncivil neighbors one could hope to have. Apparently recently moneyed due to a lawsuit victory, they planted a pre-fab trailer not 50 yards from our south fenceline, and insist on using our property for their recreational activities. (They told a neighbor they were going to trespass for hunting and horseback riding, "cause ain't nobody using it now, besides, we only have 20 acres.") I have had the DNR twice to the property to investigate trespassing and theft in the past year alone.

We are about to give up what we considered to be our future retirement home because, regardless of the small-town charm the paper exudes, these people have the same respect for property rights that were on display during the L.A. riots after the Rodney King beating trials. Having almost bought an adjacent ten acres in order to erect a home, we now only use the property for our annual whitetail hunts and spring morel forays. Other neighbors are truly wonderful, but they can help us only so much. One hates to invest hard-earned money in a structure that will almost certainly have more break-ins than my home in Troy. We'll give it a few more years but will keep our eyes on other opportunities should necessity force us to re-locate.

I suppose that we would have expected such un-neighborly rudeness in a more urban locale. It's truly unfortunate that one must encounter the same selfish, urban behavior in such beautiful country.

By the way, we love the Frosty Cup. As my daughter and I happily sing while pulling into their lot on Lake Cadillac: "Frosty Cup, Frosty Cup, eat so much you have to throw it up!" I think we ate so much there we paid for their latest expansion. Enjoy it while you can,
-- Dave Weaver

SO FAR AWAY
Re: Francis X. Rocca's Contempt Providers:

As an American who has lived in London for the last year, all I can say in response to Francis X. Rocca's piece is "Amen."

The British know their level of customer service is horrible. They complain about it. They readily acknowledge it. But -- like every other "problem" in this country -- they see no way around it.

I have come to the conclusion that the fundamental difference between the European and American views of the world is that Americans see problems as challenges to be conquered whereas Europeans see problems as intractable irritants to be accommodated.

I go home in less than a month...
-- Jack Heald
London

Europeans know and have long known you are right. Somerville and Ross in The Irish RM tell of the Irish fishmongers who closed their shop because all day long it was people bothering them for fish, fish, fish. I just came back from a trip through France and Germany. It is better, but still bad.
-- Fred Zinkhofer

GORE VOTER CRIES WOLF
Re: Bill Croke's Elk Gone:

Tell Croke we love the wolves. Too bad for the [expletive deleted] hunters who have not a single neuron in their useless heads. I wish the wolves would kill the humans, but, unlike humans, wolves kill for food.
-- Cary Collins, RN, CDE

NAZIS IN COATS AND TIES
Re: Exchanges in Reader Mail's Foes and Allies, Heavy Loads etc.:

May I respectfully request that Bob Johnson and Paul Kellogg be made to stand in a corner until one or the other has something to say about something other than this Nazis-in-coats-and-ties quibble?

Or has worthwhile editorial correspondence to Prowler tanked since The American Spectator has come back?
-- Kevin McGehee
Coweta County, GA

THE EMPIRE'S NEW CLOTHES
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Sayonara, Saudi Arabia:

Don't Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder understand the difference between the Roman Empire (Roman, ancient, an empire, toga-wearing, not claiming to be holy) and the Holy Roman Empire (medieval, German)?
--Tim Nelson

Here we are, the most prosperous nation in the world with the highest standard of living, yet we live in a state of survival.

This is not something new. Long before the attacks on Sept. 11, many
Americans had become frightened. The public's hysterical response to the subsequent collapse of Enron and World Com and the selling frenzy of a Stock Market were predictable. It's a well known aspect of human behavior: the first thing that gets compromised when people are in survival, is their integrity. We had a chance to take a stand and support the people of Tibet whose oppression by the Chinese is well documented. Yet, when it came time to reject China as a world trading partner we caved into the pressures of open markets. "Bringing China into the world market means jobs."

Has it gotten that bad? Have we become so incapable of caring for ourselves that we must compromise all those things we stood for as a Nation? Must we prostitute ourselves and lay down with an oppressive nation to avoid the irrational fear of economic extinction?

It's apparent that we, as a Nation, no longer make decisions based on ethics, morality and compassion for suffering. Oh, we thump our chests and make a lot of noise about humanitarian concerns abroad but the truth is, we are blinded to the reality others see. The truth is apparent to all the world. All those sweet sounding gestures, all that political rhetoric about "the land of free and the home of the brave," all the speeches about taking a stand for freedom are no longer getting the world's applause. We've damaged the way the world listens to us by selling out to economic interests. They know it, we know it but no one wants to be first the first to ask "What is that smell?" and acknowledge the hypocrisy. What, and risk loosing the bucks? I don't think so. In public they will be silent while extending their hands for the dollars we give them. But, behind our backs they sneer at us with contempt....

The ignorant ones, those who feel guilty, respond by throwing money at the problems, both here and abroad. That only worsens matters: it rewards the behavior and invites more of the same....

Sadly, it doesn't end merely with throwing money around. The guilt has become so pervasive that we no longer bat an eye at throwing young American soldiers at the problem. Even in the shadow of Vietnam, even with all the unacknowledged pain that conflict caused our young people, there is talk of attacking Iraq. As before, we talk a good act and speak of the evils of the Butcher of Baghdad. But, underneath, everyone knows it's about oil. It's about the economics of survival.

I doubt we will make an unprovoked attack simply to remove Saddam Hussein. To do so is to risk our relations with the Saudis and jeopardize our oil supply. In that contest, as with others, our economic interests will prevail over our principles. The almighty buck is now king,

No, this problem didn't begin with the Saudis or the Chinese. It's been around a lot longer than most would dare admit.

If those who died during the American Revolution and afterwards, were to speak now, I wonder what they would say? Would they be proud of us?

Or ... would there be tears?
-- Art Bianconi

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